Although innumerable people throughout the world have elected to entertain themselves be rewatching movies such as the 2011 film Contagion, those who have seen it do not seem to think it was a good idea for the SABC to broadcast it to the millions of South Africans who are staying home to help flatten the curve.
According to tweets sent by the SABC’s various accounts as well as discussions on the public broadcaster’s various radio stations, the decision to show the movie was inspired by a need to help the masses better understand the spread of a virus.
Contagion is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film, inspired by pandemics such as the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak and the 2009 flu pandemic, depicts the spread of a virus transmitted by fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease and the loss of social order in the face of a pandemic. It also shows the introduction of a vaccine to halt its spread.
The film also stars an ensemble cast in the form of Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, and Sanaa Lathan.
Shortly after its release, the film was praised by critics for its narrative and the performances. It was also well received by scientists, who lauded its accuracy.
Following its broadcast as Sunday night’s movie on SABC 3, however, the film seemed to have spread more fear than knowledge. It also spurred some bizarre conspiracy theories.